Brave Bahrain lose it with the last kick.

By Bernie Adam 20/11/2008

As I sit here, after viewing the late night/ early morning fixture between Australia and Bahrain I am left scratching my head at the audacity of Pim Verbeek with his pre game mumblings of an attacking mindstate.

As I had predicted, Bahrain came out fighting with Jaycee John leading the attack and proving himself to be a handful time and time again. Al Ahmar tested the mettle of our defence and found their rhythm quickly. Creating chance after chance and failing to make them count. The entire first half had been a one-sided affair, even though our boys had only been together for a day, it seemed as if they had never played on the same pitch before. David Carney was a liability, Cahill was playing injured, Neill had seemed to have disappeared only to reappear from time to time and Chris Coyne proving to be nothing short of a disaster. Mercifully though, the referee had blown for half time after Bahrain had a marvellous first half.

It seemed to me that there was no cohesiveness with the Aussies. We were very fortunate not to be losing, our midfield and defence could not gel. Tim Cahill tried his best but his efforts proved fruitless save for one rasping shot on target, but we cannot expect much from him when he is injured. Valeri was not allowed to settle in midfield. We missed the pace and attacking prowess of Brett Emerton, I feel when he is on the pitch our defence is more confident and we are able to play a lethal overlapping style of play when the ball is played out wide. We also missed the experience of Vinny Grella and Scotty Chipperfield.

It seems to me that we were out of the game for 92 minutes, thankfully though Bresciano popped up and scored what proved to be the winner. However no praise should be heaped onto the team so readily, how can we struggle for such a large portion of the game? We seriously cannot be labelled as "slow starters" and no excuses can be offered on Pim's behalf when it comes to a rather stagnant selection policy.

A win is a win at the end of the day, I do feel for Bahrain as they had shown the heart, commitment and desire. Undeserved losers after 93mins.

Hopefully Pim has our lads playing a more positive style when we face Japan.

 Australia vs Bahrain: One step closer.

By Bernie Adam 19/11/2008

As our lads get ready to face Bahrain on Thursday morning, one must raise the question about whether or not Pim Verbeek will field an attack minded side. Our major problem when Australia first entered the AFC was that we didn't pay respect towards our opponents, this time around Pim Verbeek is paying too much respect towards our opponents. Anyone in their right mind can clearly see that the Socceroos have the potential to be an amazing attacking force. Instead of playing with a five man midfield, maybe we can play a 4-3-3? Or even a 4-1-2-1-2? An attacking mind state is sorely needed when it comes to facing minnows. Hopefully Pim will come to his senses and try to encourage our boys to be a little more adventurous in front of goal. Even by playing a high paced counter attacking game the Socceroos would find themselves a force to be reckoned with in Asia and eventually at the World Cup in South Africa 2010.

Bahrain are a nation small in stature, but large in heart. However I do not see them pulling an upset against Australia. They are missing are large portion of their squad and more importantly their form has been rather patchy. That isn't to say that they are not a good team, they have a wealth of imported players who have the ability to cope in the major leagues of Europe and Asia. Their main  man is Nigerian born striker Jaycee John, the Mouscron hit man is somewhat of a prolific scorer, before heading to Europe he played for Al Ahli of Manama for two seasons scoring 29 goals in 30 appearances. He then played for Muharraq Club going on to score 23 goals in 25 appearances before earning a move to Belgium to play for Mouscron. If he firing, Australia will have to be on their toes to deal with him.

 November 16th 2005: Still so fresh in the mind.

I remember it was like yesterday, sitting on the train leaving Campbelltown station, passing through the Western Suburbs on the way to Homebush station. Myself and two other friends in our Socceroos gear, nothing needed to be said, and for a while nothing was said as We were slowly surrounded by other Socceroos supporters, some jovial and some not. Silence once again seemed to fall over the carriage of the train where We were sitting. We arrived at Homebush station to get on a connecting train heading towards Olympic Park station, and once again silence filled the carriage with the occasional cough or murmur of conversation.

It was me who broke the silence, startling my friends and other passengers. "Change is in the air tonight.... I can feel it" I claimed. And to my delight a total stranger responded "You know... I think You're right mate." Soon enough people were joining in and a massive conversation between 40 or so Socceroos fans broke out. The talking led to laughing, the laughing led to singing and soon enough the train pulled into Olympic Park station. We clamoured out of the train, total strangers, all singing together, waving flags and scarves. My friends either side of me, everyone wearing the colours, regardless of race, creed or social status was united.

We slowly made our way into Telstra Stadium (as it was known then) at 5:35pm. We took our seats, and waited. Whilst overlooking the empty stadium the feeling of change was so prominent it brought Goosebumps to the skin. My friends and I had begun to talk amongst ourselves, discussing who would be a threat other than Recoba and what Guus Hiddink had told our boys after the late training session.

Soon enough the stadium is filling up, people are everywhere and the time for the pre match rituals has arrived. I did not pay much attention to the Hunters and Collectors singing 'Holy Grail'. I did not pay any attention to the tannoy announcer trying to get us to sing along to a half baked crowd chant. That didn't matter to us, John Travolta being there didn't matter to us. That night was about one thing: Destiny. The only part of the pre game ritual that captured the hearts and minds of every single fan was when everyone who was wearing green and gold sung You'll Never Walk Alone as a tribute to the late, great Johnny Warren.

The teams came out, and the time to sing the Anthem came upon us and we all know what happened after that when a certain Jade Macrae was silenced during her rendition of Advance Australia Fair. Unfortunately there was more than a few who booed the Uruguayan National Anthem but that didn't damper our spirits.

The kick off came, the two teams exchanging chances. Uruguay going close, the Socceroos going ahead through Marco Bresciano and that moment sent the entire stadium into raptures. Another melee of chances going both ways until the half time whistle sounded. We were utterly electrified, all of us, the whole nation, were one. Half Time brought about a need to drink loads of water, beer and coke. Thirsts slicked, gullets replenished, voices renewed. Our lads came back out for a tense second half, our nerves frayed,  our hearts beating at a tremendous pace. The final whistle blew..... Penalties were here and there was not one relaxed face in the crowd.

Schwarzer saved us, Viduka scared us and Aloisi freed us. That single moment when Aloisi scored THAT penalty, released what seemed like a million years of pain and frustration. Utter mayhem insued, we were all dancing and hugging. Random strangers kissing me on the cheek and crying. My final memory from that wonderful night is simple, my mates were looking around and asked each other one question "Where's Bernie?"

Yours truly had been carried by the back of his shirt two rows behind where we were situated, engulfed in a sea of green and gold and tears of joy flowing freely.

2010 is ours for the taking, win or lose, the love will always remain constant.

Bernardinho (Bernie Adam)

 Craig Moore diagnosed with testicular cancer - 12/11/08

QUEENSLAND Roar captain and Socceroo veteran Craig Moore has undergone surgery for testicular cancer. Moore, 32, who was named in the Socceroo side to play Bahrain in a World Cup soccer qualifier in the Middle East next week, had surgery on Tuesday to remove a testicle.
He played in the Queensland Roar's 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium last Saturday.

The former Glasgow Rangers and Newcastle United defender played a key role in Australia's 2006 World Cup campaign.

Moore, who has two small children, aged 10 and 6, is under the care of a urologist and has been told the outlook is good.

Australian Medical Association Queensland men's health spokesman Ross Cartmill said most testicular cancers occurred in men aged between 20 and 40.

``We certainly do encourage young men in general to self-examine,'' said Dr Cartmill, a urologist.

``There's no excuse for late diagnosis of testicular tumours.

Men should be self-examining and reporting any abnormal lumps.''

An average 117 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer annually.

- Courier Mail

 Pim Names His Bahrain Squad 11/11/2008

SOCCEROOS coach Pim Verbeek has today named 24 players in his squad for the World Cup Asian Qualifier against Bahrain in Manama on Wednesday November 19 2008.
Carl Valeri returns to the Qantas Socceroos squad having served his one match suspension for accumulating yellow cards, while Mark Bresciano, Vincenzo Grella and Harry Kewell have all been included after successfully recovering from injuries.

The trio missed out on being available for the Qantas Socceroos last match against Qatar in Brisbane last month.

Although Grella did get substituted at half-time with a slight hamstring complaint in Blackburn’s loss to Chelsea in the English Premier League overnight, Verbeek will await further medical advice regarding the midfielder’s fitness to travel to Bahrain.

Goalkeeper Adam Federici has received a call up following his recent run of form in the English First Division with Southend, whilst on loan from Reading, and his stellar performances at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Should Federici take the field in Manama, he would make his senior national team debut.

Craig Moore is the sole Hyundai A-League player selected in the squad after his successful return from international retirement against Qatar in Brisbane.

The Qantas Socceroos will go into the match sitting at the top of Group A of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Round 4. In the other Group A match on Wednesday night, Qatar host Japan in Doha, whilst Uzbekistan have the bye.

QANTAS SOCCEROOS SQUAD – Monday 10 November 2008
Mark BRESCIANO, U.S. Citta di Palermo
Jacob BURNS, FC Unirea Valahorum
Tim CAHILL, Everton
David CARNEY, Sheffield United FC
Chris COYNE, Colchester United FC
Jason CULINA, PSV Eindhoven
Bruce DJITE, Genclerbirligi SK
Brett EMERTON, Blackburn Rovers
Adam FEDERICI, Reading FC
Richard GARCIA, Hull City FC
Vincenzo GRELLA, Blackburn Rovers
Brett HOLMAN, AZ Alkmaar
Josh KENNEDY, Karlsruher SC
Harry KEWELL, Galatasaray SK
Scott MCDONALD, Celtic FC
Craig MOORE, Queensland Roar
Lucas NEILL, West Ham United FC
Michael PETKOVIC, Sivasspor
Matthew SPIRANOVIC, FC Nurnberg
Mile STERJOVSKI, Derby County FC
Carl VALERI, U.S. Grosseto FC
Luke WILKSHIRE, FK Dinamo Moscow

Kewell recalled for World Cup qualifier 11/11/2008

SYDNEY, Australia — Ex-Liverpool winger Harry Kewell has been recalled to a 24-man Australian squad that also contains Everton midfielder Tim Cahill for next week's World Cup Asian qualifying match against Bahrain in Manama.

Socceroos head coach Pim Verbeek announced the squad Monday for the Nov. 19 match, including Galatasaray's Kewell, Blackburn midfielder Vince Grella and Italy-based Mark Bresciano who all missed the 3-0 win over Qatar last month because of injuries.

Cahill returned for the Qatar match after an extended layoff and played an integral role in the lopsided victory that gave Australia the outright lead in Group A with two wins in the fourth round of Asian qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup.

The remaining 10 teams in Asian qualifying have been divided into two groups, with the leading two teams in each group gaining an automatic World Cup spot in South Africa and the third-place teams entering playoffs for one more spot.

Former Glasgow Rangers captain and Newcastle United defender Craig Moore is the only player in the squad from Australia's domestic A-League. The 32-year-old centre back, now contracted to the Queensland Roar, made his return to international football against Qatar after a brief retirement.